Optional Courses

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Optional Courses

For year 3 timetable and assessment due dates, click on file.


This course aims to give an understanding of long-term memory at a range of levels of analysis. It begins with memory failures and preservation in amnesia, then considers the basic neurobiology of the hippocampus. Next a human cognitive neuroscience perspective on memory provides the framework for applications to learning skills, and an understanding of false memory and eyewitness testimony. The main course content is presented in lectures, with in-class discussions. The course is supported by autonomous peer-learning groups with a revision and feedback session in the final week.

The goals of the course are to:
(a) Introduce important phenomena and mechanisms underlying cognitive development, illustrate them with concrete examples from various domains of cognition, such as attention, learning, memory, cognitive control, reasoning, and relate them to children's everyday life.
(b) Understand the reciprocal links among the brain, cognition, and the environment in the dynamic context of development.

The course will give an overview of the major topics in current personality research. Historical personality theories will not be covered. The main but not exclusive focus will be on the trait approach to personality differences between people, but variability within individuals over time and across situations will also be discussed. The course will start by introducing the major theoretical concepts, positions and achievements in current personality psychology. It will then move on to listing some of the main active research topics.

The goal of this course is to explore the ecology of psychological problems within a developmental framework. In doing so it will explore some of the contexts at a micro and macro level that impact on psychological well-being, from early relationships to the effect of poverty and social exclusion.

This course examines conceptual and historical issues in Psychology, such as the nature of psychological knowledge, the ways it has been constructed, and how it has changed the way we think, feel and act.

This course will outline and discuss advances in experimental social psychology, thereby progressing students¿ theoretical and conceptual knowledge and understanding beyond pre-honours level. It will cover in depth key areas of the discipline, such stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. The emphasis will be on the research studies through which contemporary social psychology is conducted, and students will learn to appreciate the special challenges posed social psychology¿s aim to produce a systematic study of social behaviour, and the different ways these may be resolved.

This course will cover the main contemporary theories of human reasoning, including logical reasoning, probabilistic reasoning, and analogical reasoning. In addition, it will cover classic research on problem solving and decision making, including problem space theory, insight, as well as heuristics and biases in judgement.

This course will look at the basic processes of language production and comprehension, examining the routes from language input to conceptual understanding, and from concept to language. The emphasis will be on explaining how experimental methods can be used to examine core theoretical questions, focusing particularly on issues surrounding mental representation, modularity and information flow.

This course considers visual perception from a functional perspective, treating it as a biologically evolved ability to obtain information from the light reaching our eyes that we need to understand the world around us and to act in it. The lectures will first consider ways in which vision provides us with knowledge of the properties of surfaces and objects, and of other people’s actions, before going on to discuss how we use vision to guide body movements.

The overall aim of this course is to enhance students' ability to reflect critically on research into the development of language, literacy and communication in children and young people. The course aims to help students (a) learn how to use empirical evidence to evaluate contrasting theoretical perspectives in developmental psychology and (b) understand how developmental theories and findings can be applied to educational and societal issues. These aims will be addressed by considering such issues as:

This series of lectures introduces a range of topics which illustrate possible biological approaches to the study of mental processes and brain function. The topics covered range in specificity and level of analysis, and include communication among neurons, gross anatomy of the brain, broader aspects of neuroimaging, life-span development of the nervous system and brain plasticity, and the neurobiology of attentional and motor processes.